ISL 2020-21 runners-up ATK Mohun Bagan have reportedly signed Finland international Joni Kauko as their first big acquisition of the summer. According to IFTWC, the experienced Finnish midfielder will be a part of ATKMB’s upcoming AFC Cup campaign.
The 30-year-old midfielder is currently with his national team at the ongoing UEFA Euro 2020, where Finland is clubbed in Group B with heavyweights Belgium, Denmark and Russia.
Though Kauko’s appearances in Euro 2020 have been from the bench, the player has been a regular for his national team. After Kauko replaced Teemu Pukki from the bench during Finland’s 1-0 win against Denmark, he was seen coming on in the second half against Russia as the Scandinavian nation lost 0-1.
With ATKMB coach Antonio Habas preferring a robust midfield to effectively help in his team’s transition from defence to attack, Kauko is expected to join the likes of Edu Garcia as a new midfield acquisition.
A central midfielder, who can play as a defensive midfielder as well as a no. 10, Kauko is expected to replace Javi Hernandez in ATKMB’s midfield after the Spaniard recently parted ways with the club.
The Finland midfielder has all the attributes to fit in the ISL set-up and comes with more than 20 caps for his country. After starting his career in the Finnish club FC Inter’s youth system, Kauko played for FC Lahti and German clubs FSV Frankfurt and Energie Cottbus. He has also played for the Denmark clubs Randers FC and Esbjerg fB besides having UEFA Europa League experience under his belt.
Besides Roy Krishna and Tiri, ATKMB are yet to secure the long-term services of their other overseas players Garcia, Carl McHugh and David Williams. ATKMB’s AFC Cup campaign will see the club in Group D with Bangladesh's Basundhara Kings, Maldivian club Maziya S&RC and another team that’s yet to be decided.
Featured Image: AFP/ Franck Fife